A funeral service for Rainer Koehler, the chairman of construction giant - Roko Construction Ltd, will be held today at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero, starting at 1pm.
Koelher, 82, died on Thursday last week at The Surgery, a clinic in Kololo, a Kampala suburb. He had been admitted there after complaining of an abrupt fever.
Mr Mark Koehler, Roko’s managing director, who is the deceased’s son, recounts: “On Thursday morning, he woke up and prepared to go to Kawempe, where the company’s headquarters is located. At about 7:45am, he suddenly told my mum that he was feeling feverish and asked to see a doctor. He was taken to The Surgery clinic. He was attended to and later given a bed to rest. While on the bed, he suffered a heart attack and died.”
Mr Mark said much as his father had a history of heart complications, he seemed to have recovered. “His heart had been operated on a couple of years ago, but prior to his death, he was doing well. We were caught unawares. In fact, he was getting compliments from his friends about how healthy he appeared,” Mark said.
The late Koehler was born in 1931. He arrived in Uganda in July 1969. It is in the same year that he set up Roko, which started as a small construction company. But, it took him long to earn the trust of contractors. Mark said Roko got the opportunity to prove its capability in the construction realm in 1973, when it was contracted to construct the Uganda Marty’s Shrine at Namugongo, Kampala. “That was the foundation of Ugandan’s trust in Roko’s ability. Thereafter, more contracts started coming in,” Mark said. In 2001, the company expanded to Rwanda.
“In 2004, we opened Roko DR Congo and in 2005, Roko Sudan was opened,” Mark said. At the time of his father’s death, the company was working on a number of grand projects such as; the upgrading of Kigali International Airport, the construction of South Sudan Airport and Acacia Mall at Kisementi, Kampala.
Koehler is survived by a widow and four children. His wife and two of the children have been living with him in the country, while the other two are abroad. One is operating a personal business in Canada and another is a doctor in Switzerland. He will be buried in a week’s time in his home village, Comano, in the district of Lugano, Switzerland.